A common issue that I’ve always had with the local Montreal metal and hardcore scene is conformity and over influenced compositions. More times than not, it is bands trying they’re best to sound like their influences without a thought to what will make them stand out. Half of the reason I love what I do is getting the opportunity to try and single bands out that show the highest level of originality. This doesn’t always work out, but if every day was a blowjob then the the good days wouldn’t be special. Here’s another chapter in that journey with Montreal-based melodic death metal act Burning the Oppressor and their new record Bloodshed.
BTO brings a fast and consistent approach to the predominantly Swedish influenced style, while also incorporating a groovy-ish, almost late stage nu metal/early stage new wave of American metal influence. Think a cross between At the Gates and Parkway Drive with the semi typical flavour that’s been found with Montreal-based metal bands over the years. Bloodshed is relentless from start to finish. Fast, heavy, chunky; all the things you’d want out of your typical old school melodeath record. Featuring eleven tracks and an intro, it’s easy to see from listening that this is an act that has been doing its thing for long enough that they claimed what could be called their own sound. It is always tough to diversify off a very unilateral style like melodic death, and Burning the Oppressor brings a very Quebec metal take on the style.
Breaking down the nitty gritty of Bloodshed itself, I found a relatively equal amount of slight annoyances and redeeming qualities at every turn. The most notable pro, aside from the characteristics named earlier, is that it is brazenly consistent. This is an album that at no point slows down or quits. My only problem with that, bringing me to its most prominent con, is the lack of diversity. Excessive is the name of the game with BTO’s compositions. Maybe you’re going to like it more than I did, but by the time we took a break from necksnapping riffs to provide a moment of ridiculous groove drop, we were five tracks in at “Look at me.” By the time a difference in vocal melodies or patterns is introduced, it is track eleven with “Fuck the Facts” featuring Reanimator‘s Pat Martin. It took a different voice entirely to hear a change in tone from the one peak of screaming and the plethora of crowd style vocals.
The overall quality of sound on Bloodshed isn’t necessarily breaking any norms. The guitars are level but could use a little more tone fuckery, the drums feel a little too digital but are raw enough (with exception of the kick trigger, but I’m a total snob when it comes to that shit), and the vocals (although unique to some degree) are predominantly STACKED with layers as opposed to the potential of a diversifying effect or plot change. That, however, can very much still be expected with a band at this level. It’s always more than impressive any time a local act can pull together the funds and man power to create a full length record, and for that it is a more than commendable piece.
With any luck, Burning the Oppressor will simply grow and expand upon this solid base of personal (but not necessarily overwhelmingly original) sound. Every band has to start somewhere, Bloodshed is a solid start and I look forward to see where this act can go from here.
Written by Jason Greenberg
*edited by Danielle Kenedy